Suffolk: Numbers of staff at county council to fall for first time in years

SUFFOLK: The number of staff employed by the county is set to fall for the first time in years, according to figures obtained from the authority.

The number of non-schools workers at the county council increased from 9,986 in April 2008 to 10,353 a year later, and 10,856 last April.

That number is expected to have fallen to 10,184 by April 1 this year. The figures were obtained from a Freedom of Information request.

Some of those staff are part-time and the full-time equivalent figures are 6,078 in 2008, 6,369 in 2009, 6,756 in 2010 and the number should fall to 6,543 by the start of next month.

That suggests that many of those currently losing their jobs are part-time workers.

Between April last year and next month, the number of staff employed by the council will have fallen by 652 – but this will equate to 213 full-time positions.

A spokesman for the county council said the rise in numbers between 2009 and 2010 was largely accounted for by the then Labour government’s Future Jobs Fund which paid for fixed-term jobs at the county council.

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The numbers also increased between 2008 and 2010 because of the Government-funded new children’s centres which are staffed by county council employees.

The opposition Liberal Democrats have been critical of the county’s inability to make significant cuts to its staff numbers.

Opposition leader Kathy Pollard said: “These figures show that the number of staff did increase until last year but it has been difficult to pin down exactly how many people are employed.

“What we cannot tell from this is how many people are employed on front-line services and how many are on desks in headquarters.”

In its budget papers published last month, the county council revealed it expected the number of people employed by the authority to fall by a further 1,051 during the financial year 2011/12.

n Have you been affected by job losses at the county council? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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